Unfinished, Gustav Klimt

 I keep thinking about this Gustav Klimt painting that is in the Unfinished show at Met Breuer. Posthumous Portrait of Maria Munk III, 1917-18, was commissioned by the subject's parents, after she committed suicide. 

This was Klimt's third effort, as the first two portraits did not meet the family's approval. Klimt himself died before the portrait was complete.

Until now, Klimt wasn't a favorite of mine. I admired his work, but it always seemed a little sterile, lacking in soul. Maybe because in reproductions it can come off as decorative. In person you see the hand at work, feel the life.

The sad story behind this painting makes it of interest, but the unfinished part brings it to life for me. I'm certain that I like it more this way, than if it had been completed. I wonder what the first two, that the family rejected, looked like.

New Mexico, Georgia O'Keeffe & me

I followed the Georgia O'Keeffe New Mexico trail--seeking those singular landscapes. Pink hills, black hills, variegated yellows.Mesas, buttes, canyons.

I followed the Georgia O'Keeffe New Mexico trail--seeking those singular landscapes. Pink hills, black hills, variegated yellows.Mesas, buttes, canyons.

Climbing a slot canyon in otherworldly Tent Rocks, walking the history of a pueblo and the dusty streets of Abiquiu... Contemplation at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Time and space.

Climbing a slot canyon in otherworldly Tent Rocks, walking the history of a pueblo and the dusty streets of Abiquiu... Contemplation at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Time and space.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Plaza Blanca, The White Place. O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Plaza Blanca, The White Place. O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.

O'Keeffe paints and brushes. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.

O'Keeffe paints and brushes. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.

I did a little sketching, and took pictures, but mostly I was just trying to be there. To be, within those crazy geologic wonders. At some point I'd like to paint a New Mexico-inspired series, explore those shapes and colors, so different from the green Northeast where I live. Beyond the shapes and colors too--the history and culture, it's all intertwined.

Looking, Mark Rothko

The paintings of Mark Rothko were a big influence on my art, and on the way I look at art. It's spiritual, in the way that nature often is, when you are hiking up a mountain, and pause and breathe, when you gaze at the lake, the meadow of wildflowers, the waves on a winter beach, and you feel yourself falling into the landscape, becoming part of it. Rothko's work is like that--it breathes, it is alive, it pulls you in.

(When people look like the painting.)

Pictures taken at the Tate Modern.